How to maintain a healthier home on a budget

(BPT) - Living healthily remains a primary concern for many today, with homeowners looking to make home improvements with an emphasis on the health benefits of living in an environmentally friendly space.

"When it comes to home improvement, eco-friendly choices can be budget-friendly," said Bonnie Lee, Vice President of Property Claims at Mercury Insurance. "Healthy home choices, especially for large renovations, can bring your homeowner cost down and save you money on insurance too.'

The journey to a healthier home begins by identifying areas needing regular maintenance and determining which environmentally friendly products can replace current ones. Here's a roundup of beneficial and feasible home enhancements:

Breathe easier with clean air

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that indoor air can be up to five times more polluted than outdoor air. The air filters in your home's heating and cooling equipment weed out contaminants like dust and pet dander; however, a dirty filter hampers their efficiency. Regularly cleaning or changing these filters, especially HEPA filters that cost as little as $30, can ensure clean air.

A costless preventive measure is to maintain the proper functioning of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home. Fires and carbon monoxide poisoning are more likely during winter when homes are typically heated, making detector maintenance an important step.

Ensuring safe water

Water filters offer a health-centric and budget-conscious upgrade to homes. Filter pitchers start from as low as $20, and there are more upscale alternatives available like under-sink, countertop or faucet-mounted systems.

Water leak detection devices present another home improvement avenue. These systems alert homeowners when a leak is detected and can automatically shut off the water system if a significant issue exists. Mercury Insurance offers a related discount to eligible homes equipped with these devices.

Environmentally friendly and effective household supplies

Attentions have shifted due to concerns over the composition of traditional cleaning products, paints, flooring and construction materials. Many homeowners now prefer environmentally friendly alternatives. Look for biodegradable products based on renewable resources. When painting the walls of your home, look for volatile organic compounds (VOC)-free options or those that are Green Seal or GreenGuard certified.

When it comes to appliances, aim for LEED-certified or STAR-rated products for lower energy usage and eligibility for an insurance discount for green homeowners. For flooring, consider alternatives like unfinished hardwood, stone or concrete, and carpets made from natural fibers. Look for non-toxic adhesives to further limit chemical exposure.

For building materials like drywall and insulation, opt for GreenGuard-certified products to avoid hazardous chemicals.

Adopting routine maintenance and home improvements can foster a healthier living environment and offer financial rewards. For instance, Mercury Insurance provides a 5% green home insurance discount to homeowners with a certification from either the U.S. Green Building Council LEED or the National Association of Home Builders Green Building Guidelines (NAHB).

February 22, 2024

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